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Chicago Bears' Offseason From A-Z

Ed LeiserCorrespondent IJune 17, 2010

BALTIMORE - DECEMBER 20:  The Chicago Bears offense huddles during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 20, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Bears 31-7. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

With a little less than three months before the Bears' first preseason game, I wanted to break down the Bears' 2010 offseason so far, from an A-to-Z perspective.

There is anticipation for training camp to begin as always with the Bears, and the busy offseason has led to new hope in Chicago—especially since the Blackhawks' season has finally ended. (and have you seen the baseball teams play this summer?)

Forgive me in advance for not coming up with anything funny or creative with the letters "Q" and "X"; those letters continue to boggle the mind as to why they exist.

Here is the Chicago Bears' 2010 offseason, starting with the letter A.

 

A is for Aromashodu

Devin Aromashodu, who came on strong last season in Weeks 14 and 16, is part of the reason the Bears' front office has not acquired a veteran wide receiver for quarterback Jay Cutler.  This offseason, names like Torry Holt and Terrell Owens have bounced around the walls at Halas Hall, but the Bears' brass feel players like Aromashodu can do the job for a fraction of the price.  Hopefully, they're right.

B is for Brown

Alex Brown is gone, but certainly not forgotten among Bears fans.  Brown will take his pass-rushing to the New Orleans Saints, but will always be loved in Chicago for his cool attitude and humble demeanor.

C is for Cutler

Jay Cutler, he of the 4,526 passing yards in 2008 with the Denver Broncos, simply needs to play better in 2010 for the Bears to be a playoff team.  What does that mean?  Well, for starters, don't throw 26 interceptions, Jay.  But to be fair, anyone who gets sacked 35 times will be a little hectic in the pocket.

D is for December

Easily the hardest month of the year for the Bears in 2010, December starts off with a road game against an improved Detroit Lions team, followed by a trio of deadly games.  After Detroit, the Bears return home to face the New England Patriots before heading back on the road for a Monday night game against the Minnesota Vikings.  December concludes the day after Christmas, with a home game against the AFC-runner-up New York Jets.  The Bears may need to go 2-2 (if not better) in this month to make the playoffs.

E is for Evanston alumni

This past offseason, it was out with one Northwestern graduate (Brett Basanez) and in with another former Wildcat (Corey Wootton).  Wootton should provide depth on the defensive line, and could be a steal as he was once considered a first or second-round projection.  Basanez was not a factor in his time as a Chicago Bear.

F is for Forte

Matt Forte, a rookie sensation, was a sophomore bust last year in Chicago.  He ran for 300 less yards, so the Bears brought in veteran running back Chester Taylor to help keep the backfield fresh.  Forte is a good pass-catcher as well, so look for Forte to get some more dump-off passes in 2010.

G is for Green Bay

The Bears were 0-2 against our friends from Wisconsin last season—something that can't happen if you're expecting a playoff berth.  The Packers look strong again this season, and the Bears will need to find a way to get a victory or two against them.

H is for Harris

Chris Harris is back in the Bears' secondary, but hopefully his best days aren't behind him.  As a Carolina Panther in 2007, Harris led the NFL with eight forced fumbles; you know the Bears would love that kind of production again in 2010.  Harris, 27, provides an upgrade to the Bears' secondary.

I is for Interceptions

The Bears need more of them in 2010, but also, less.  I'll explain.  Defensively, the Bears were 22nd out of 32 teams in interceptions, but it was another story on offense, as the Bears threw the third-most picks in the league.  Obviously, Cutler's wild arm heavily contributes to that.  In 2010, the Bears need to better protect the ball on offense, but get some back on defense.  This used to be a very opportunistic defense that thrived on turnovers.

J is for Jerry

Jerry Angelo has been on board the Bears' train since 2001, but the next stop could be his last if the Bears don't make the post-season in 2010-11.  The 2006 Super Bowl run was the pinnacle of Jerry Angelo's tenure, but it was followed with three mediocre seasons and no playoff appearances.

K is for Knox

Johnny Knox had a strong rookie year, culminating in a Pro Bowl appearance, and will be expected to have another solid year as Jay Cutler's No. 2 wide receiver.  Knox is known for his breakout speed and can be a weapon in the special teams game as well.

L is for Lovie

Lovie Smith is on the same train as Jerry Angelo these days—the two seem to be a package deal at the moment where if one goes, so should the other, and vice-versa.  Lovie took criticism last season for leading a sub-par defense—his specialty—but key additions and improved health should help his unit be more successful in 2010.

M is for Martz

Mike Martz, the well-traveled offensive guru, is making his second appearance in the NFC North this season for the Bears (Detroit Lions).  There's no denying his ability to turn around an offense from previous years, but there will be a huge challenge ahead with this unit.  His tenure as Bears' offensive coordinator will be 100 percent tied to the success (or lack thereof) of Jay Cutler.  He might as well start buying Cutler dinner twice a week.

N is for New (turf)

OK, I've heard enough talk of how bad the playing surface is at Soldier Field.  What is the reason the Bears haven't yet installed a state-of-the-art playing surface (such as field turf)?  My guess is the lazy, incompetent people at the Chicago Park District don't know what they're doing, but enough is enough.  Every player complains about how bad the field is; please fix it soon.

O is for Old (offensive line)

One of the reasons Matt Forte did so poorly last year was the play of the offensive line, which has shown serious signs of age and fatigue.  Guard Roberto Garza is now 31, tackle Kevin Shaffer is 30, and Pro Bowl center Olin Kreutz is suddenly 33.  The Bears are in need of a youth movement with this group.  Tackle Chris Williams, 24, appears to be the anchor of the line for years to come.

P is for Peppers

Julius Peppers, the top free agent available this offseason, signed a huge six-year contract to play defensive end for the Bears and put quarterbacks on their backs.  The Bears' Cover-2 defense relies on pressure from their defensive line, something they haven't been getting enough of in recent seasons.  So, with Peppers, there will be no excuse for poor defensive line play this season. 

Q is for Quiet

Quiet down, Brian Urlacher.  We're sick of hearing off-the-field comments about this and that, and when it comes to a war of words with Bears' legends Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus, you're walking a very fine line.  Maybe you should focus on the 2010 season, staying healthy, and returning to the Pro Bowl.

R is for Return game

Lost in the shuffle last year was the fantastic return game on the Bears' special teams.  The Bears finished third in the league in kick return average (25.0) and were tops with nine returns of 40 plus yards.  With speedsters like Johnny Knox, Devin Hester, and Danieal Manning, it's no wonder the Bears consistently rank high in the return game.

S is for Safeties

Newcomers Chris Harris and Major Wright could possibly be the starting tandem for the Bears in Week One, as Danieal Manning, Craig Steltz, Al Afalava, and Josh Bullocks will also compete for the starting nod.  The safety position is likely the second-most important position for the Bears' defense, and they haven't had good play from their safeties in recent years.  In Harris and Wright, the Bears hope to have play-makers ready to turn teams over.

T is for Taylor

Chester Taylor will join Matt Forte in the Bears' backfield, which should provide fresh legs down the stretch to a running game that was noticeably fatigued late in the season.  Taylor, 30, has over 4,000 rushing yards already on his resume, and caught 44 plus passes the last two seasons for the Minnesota Vikings.  He could be the most important signing of the offseason for Chicago.

U is for Urlacher

At 32 years of age, Urlacher won't be around much longer in the NFL, especially with neck and back injuries already on his medical records.  He missed the 2009-10 season with a wrist injury suffered in Week One, and the Bears' defense was never the same.  With him on the field, the Bears' defense can be among the league's best, and his health will be key in 2010. 

V is for (more) Victories

The Bears need to get back to the double-digit plateau in wins, or they'll experience a fourth consecutive season with no playoff berth. 

 

W is for Wright and Wootton

Safety Major Wright, from Florida, and defensive end Corey Wootton, of Northwestern, will be counted on heavily to provide a spark of energy to an aging team and defense.  Both play positions of interest in the Bears' Cover-2 scheme, and both could become long-term starters at some point in the next year or two.

 

X is for....X-cellent?

There just aren't enough words in the English language I can use at this point, so I'll just say this: The Bears need to be excellent in 2010.

Y is for Yards allowed

In 2006, the Bears were fifth in the NFL in yards allowed per game.  They plummeted to 28th in 2007 before rising to No. 21 in 2008.  Last season, they climbed again to No. 17 in yards allowed per game.  It's good to see the improvement being made, and the hope now is that the Bears can yet again rise up the NFL leader board in yards allowed per game.  A top-ten position likely will mean a playoff appearance for the Bears.

Z is for Zackary Bowman

The native of Alaska was solid in 2009, but has a checkered past in terms of injuries.  The cornerback position has respectable depth, but an injury to Bowman could be a disaster.

There it is; Chicago Bears summed up A-Z.

Now I know my ABC's, next time won't you play with me?

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